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Mr. Portillo: I took part in a round-table discussion on unemployment and under-employment at the world economic forum in Davos at which Mr. Alphande ry and others were present. A full note of the meeting has not been produced to the best of my knowledge. A one-page summary of the meeting has been published by the world economic forum and I shall arrange for a copy to be placed in the Library.

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25. Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what assessment he has made of the effects of a statutory minimum wage on the employment prospects of unemployed people.

Mr. Oppenheim: A statutory minimum wage would destroy jobs and job prospects. Its effects on the employment prospects of unemployed people would undoubtedly be disastrous.

Inward Investment

21. Mr. Robert Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is his estimate of the number of jobs that have arisen from inward investment over the last five years.

Mr. Portillo: According to figures notified to the Invest in Britain Bureau, as a result of inward investment more than 126,000 new jobs were created, and nearly 200,000 more were safeguarded, in the United Kingdom in the five financial years to 1993 94.

Full Employment

22. Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is his policy in respect of full employment.

Miss Widdecombe: The Government pursue policies designed to achieve high employment and low inflation.

Youth Unemployment

23. Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the rate of youth unemployment in the United Kingdom and in other EU countries.

Mr. Oppenheim: The United Kingdom youth unemployment rate is below the European average and is lower than in every EU country except Denmark, Luxembourg and Portugal. The information is contained in the table.

Seasonally adjusted youth unemployment rates in 

EU countries                                    

                |Latest month                   


Belguim         |19.4 (November)                

Denmark         |10.0 (October)                 

Germany<2>      |-                              

Greece<1>       |-                              

Spain           |36.3 (November)                

France          |23.0 (November)                

Ireland         |27.1 (November)                

Italy           |31.2 (November)                

Luxembourg      |7.1 (November)                 

Netherland      |15.4 (October)                 

Portugal        |11.4 (November)                

United Kingdom  |13.5 (November)                


EC Average      |19.5 (November)                


Statistical Office of the European Community    

Unemployment Bulletin. Latest available         

data-subject to revision.                       

<1>Only 1991 annual average figures available   

for Greece                                      

<2>No ILO rate available for unified Germany    

Youth Training

24. Mr. McFall: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is his latest estimate of the number of

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16 to 17-year-olds who are not in receipt of a youth training scheme place.

Mr. Paice: On 30 December 1994, in England, 179 young people covered by the youth training guarantee had been waiting for the offer of a YT place for eight weeks or longer.

Skill Shortages

27. Mr. Pearson: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the percentage change in the number of hard-to-fill vacancies over the last year; and in which sectors these skill shortages are most concentrated.

Mr. Paice: The number of hard-to-fill vacancies reported by medium and large employers increased by 76 per cent. between spring 1993 and spring 1994. These hard-to-fill vacancies are most concentrated in manufacturing, wholesale and retail, hotel and restaurants and the health and social work sectors.

Job Creation (East Sussex)

28. Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what assessments he has made of the prospects for job creation in East Sussex.

Miss Widdecombe: We believe that the Government have created the right framework for employers to create jobs and reduce unemployment in East Sussex, as in the rest of the United Kingdom.

The latest figures show that in the year to December 1994 claimant unemployment in East Sussex fell by 12 per cent., while the labour force survey indicates that in the year to summer 1994 employment in the area increased by 14,000 to 316,000.


29. Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many people are currently employed in jobcentres; what are the main tasks they undertake; and if he will make a statement.

Miss Widdecombe: Currently, around 30,000 staff are employed on front-line duties in jobcentres. They provide a range of services designed to help unemployed people back to work, and to pay benefit to those who are entitled to it. The main tasks staff undertake are job-broking--obtaining vacancies from employers and sending jobseekers to them, advising jobseekers on the range of help available and paying unemployment benefit to those entitled to it. Actual duties are interchangeable, as staff are encouraged to be able to perform a variety of work.

South Thames Training and Enterprise Council

Mr. Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment in what circumstances, for what reason and when South Thames TEC ran out of money.

Mr. Paice: The extent of the problems at South Thames training and enterprise council was revealed by a team of accountants led by staff from this Department with the support of the accountancy firm, Grant Thornton. Grant Thornton reported to this Department on 16 December 1994. Its report was conveyed to the TEC on the same day. The report showed that the TEC was trading at a loss and forecasted that this would continue, that its balance at best was negative or would shortly become so,

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that it faced major cash flow problems and that weaknesses in its management accounting and financial control systems persisted. In the light of the report, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State concluded that it would be unsafe to commit further public money to the TEC. In view of the report and that conclusion the board of South Thames TEC concluded on 21 December 1994 that the company was insolvent and invited my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to appoint a receiver.

Mr. Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will update each quarter a list of training providers to South Thames TEC that became business failures because of money unpaid by South Thames TEC.

Mr. Paice: To date, I have not been told of any training providers who have failed for this reason.

Mr. Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment to what purpose South Thames TEC put the money received from central Government for the purpose of paying training providers.

Mr. Paice: The training and enterprise council's financial affairs are currently a matter for the receiver appointed by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. I shall reply to the hon. Member's question when the receiver has done the necessary work in connection with the TEC's affairs.

Mr. Bryan Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what steps he is taking to ensure that training guarantees for young people and unemployed adults in the area formerly covered by South Thames TEC are fulfilled.

Mr. Paice: The Government guarantee that any young person aged 16 to 17 who is not in employment, training or education and seeks youth training will be offered a suitable opportunity. There is no equivalent guarantee for unemployed adults. The Department's main aim is to ensure the continued provision of training in the South Thames training and enterprise council area. A number of steps have been taken to assure training providers that they will be paid for training undertaken since 7 November 1994. The Department has issued letters of comfort to providers contracted to South Thames TEC for training for work and youth training credits, child care, work-related further education, careers and guidance year 9 and 10 and careers libraries. The Department of the Environment has extended comfort to the business start-up programme. The Government office for London is making payments direct to providers of these programmes under the terms of its contract with South Thames TEC from 7 November 1994 until 1 January 1995. For the period of three months from the appointment of the receiver on 21 December 1994, the Departments will make available to the receiver sufficient funds to ensure providers receive payments for training and outputs delivered by them under the terms of their contract with South Thames TEC for the same programmes.

I made an announcement on 31 January, Official Report, columns 598 600, in reply to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Eltham (Mr. Bottomley), about the future arrangements for the South Thames TEC area. Two neighbouring TECs, Central London TEC and South London TEC have been invited to submit proposals to me on how they would provide the full range of TEC responsibilities for the area fro the beginning of the new financial year.

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Ms Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the names and addresses of training providers who did not have a formal contract with South Thames TEC but who had provided training by agreement with South Thames TEC.

Mr. Paice: I understand that the South Thames training and enterprise council did not have formal contracts but paid under letters of intent to providers of the following programmes: compacts, teacher placement service, work-related further education and years 9 and 10 careers-guidance. In addition, some providers of traineeships to Routeways- -a wholly owned subsidiary of South Thames TEC--were also paid through letters of intent. The providers covered by letters of intent are shown in the following table:

Archbishop Michael Ramsey


Charles Edward Brooke

Dick Sheppard


Geoffrey Chaucer

Lilian Bayliss


Sacred Heart

St. Martin's in the Field

St. Saviours and St. Olaves

Stockwell Park


Warwick Park


William Penn

Aspen House

Elm Court




Orchard Centre


Thurlow Park



Clapham Park

George Rainey


Abbey Wood School

Addey and Stanhope School

Anerley School

Blackheath Bluecoat C of E

Brent Knoll School

Catford County Girls School

Churchfields School

Crofton School

Crown Woods School

Deptford Green School

Eaglesfield Boys School

Eltham Green School

Forest Hill School

Hatcham Wood School

John Evelyn ESC

John Roan School

Kidbrooke School

Malory School

Moatbridge School

Northbrook C of E School

Pendragon School

Plumstead Manor School

Prendergas Girls School

Sedgehill School

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St. Joseph's Academy Boys

St. Pauls RC School

Sydenham School

The Schoolhouse Alternative Education Project

Waterfied School

Woolwich Polytechnic Boys


Southwark College

Lambeth College

Lewisham College

Greenwich College

Southwark Careers Service

Lambeth Careers Service

Lewisham Careers Service

Greenwich Careers Service

British School of Motoring

Direct Team

Goodnews Training Ltd.

Greenwich Clipper

Jobreach (Greenwich)

New Directions

Pepys Radio Project

Rendberry Ltd.

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